The Ex Wife: Book Giveaway

24 06 2009

I’m thrilled to announce that I have four signed copies of No One’s The Bitch: A Ten-Step Plan for the Mother and Stepmother Relationshipby mom and stepmom team Jennifer Newcomb Marine and Carol Marine to giveaway to my readers! This passage is from the introduction of the book:

“It’s a nasty word, BITCH.

It’s one thing if you’re standing up in the face of injustice to do the right thing–who cares if anything things you’re a bitch? But being thought of as a bitch in general is another thing altogether.

No one wants that.

And yet, here’s the setup between ex-wife and stepmother: The other woman, no matter which side you start from, is automatically a bitch. You’ll find plenty of ammunition to lob from friends, family, and coworkers–heck, from people you barely even know. Start out any story about “the ex-wife” or “the stepmother” and people have already helped you pull the pin, ready to take her down. The land stretching between mother and stepmother is littered with such landmines. Good luck tiptoeing around them.

And isn’t it irritating to know the other side is almost certainly calling you a bitch?!”

The book is filled with ideas to help manage this challenging relationship. To win a free copy of the book, comment on this post by Friday, June 26, with your best strategy for dealing with the ex or the stepmother in your life and I’ll randomly choose four people to send the book to.

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18 responses

24 06 2009
DIanna

As much as a pains me sometimes, I try to look at things from her side of things. I know, ick, but sometimes taking a step back and checking out the type of energy that I am sending out to her gets me back in line. When I view her as another person, and not a monster, I can relax a little bit.

24 06 2009
Crys

One of my strategies has been to treat it like a business partnership. By viewing it as business that needs to be taken care of it’s easier for me to keep the raging emotions or anger out of the communication. I can be cordial and mature without the drama or dissing of the boys’ bio mom.

25 06 2009
originalflowers

But what do you do when the bio mom is insane, seriously insane? there’s no compromising, there’s no talking to her. She has her own reality and it’s different than everyone else’s. She constantly harasses my boyfriend with texts, emails and phone calls. I’m talking at least 20/day. (we currently have a cease and desist order against her). And she constantly accuses him of everything she is doing, such as putting the kids in the middle, using the kids to hurt him, caring more about her anger towards him than the kids’ well being. It’s such a horribly sad situation. He just doesn’t respond, and that drives her even more insane. So, as much as it would be great if the “normal” ways of dealing with conflict could apply here, they just don’t. I do my best. We never talk negatively about her, I make sure to ask the kids how their weekend was, how she’s doing, etc..It’s a stressful life and I’m looking forward to the day when the kids are 18 and he no longer legally needs to interact with her :).

25 06 2009
Claudette Chenevert

As a mom and stepmom, I understand what it’s like to be called the bitch (and even having called the ex-spouse one too). It’s really hard when you think you are all alone and no one’s on your side. Often, that’s why we choose allies, to boost our ego and self-esteem.

But no matter what you do or say, the reality is that everyone loses. The mother loses because she doesn’t get to see her child grow up every single day in her home. She’s not there to tuck her little one every single night, She worries every time her young one leaves to go to dad’s house and wonders if little Tommy will eat all his veggies, or if little Julie did all her assignments for school.

And then we have the stepmom, who also loses something in this relationship. She often loses the sense of control in her own home, she loses her identity as to who she is and what she is suppose to be doing. The stepmom often doesn’t get any recognition for all the things she does, knowing that it’s often Mom that gets the “fun” part of being the Mom. The stepmom doesn’t even get to have the name of “Mom” in many cases.

When you think about it, calling each other a Bitch is really sad because no one really has it all. Everyone has to give up something so that the children get to be with both parents, people that love and care for them. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is that of showing them that as adults, we can work through our difference and make the best of bad situations. Most of the time, it’s a question of perspective.

For myself, when I decided to look at my husband’s ex-wife as someone like myself, as a mom who misses her daughters, who worries about their well-being and happiness, something changed in my heart. She didn’t change who she was as a person, but the way I perceived her did. It took many years for us to put our differences aside, and to come together to help celebrate important stages in the girls lives. This was the best gift we could give them-the gift of letting them love both mom and stepmom the way they wanted to.

Claudette

25 06 2009
Kari Mitchell

Before you call the ex-wife/stepmom a “b**ch”, pause, and then imagine someone calling your own mother a “b**ch”. Hurts doesn’t it? (Well, for most of us it does.) That hurt is how your stepchild/child would feel if they knew you were calling their mom/stepmom a b**ch. It’s never productive or positive. Take the high road and always keep in mind “what’s best for my step/child.” Stay focused on the child(ren). Keep working hard to bridge the gap between stepmoms and bio-moms, ladies! 🙂

25 06 2009
Emily

So much of what helped us was imagining what the other one went through – and just getting to know each other as women. We had to stop seeing each other as part of a Stereotype and start seeing each other as real Human Beings, real Women.
I had to imagine – what if I had created and grown a child, what if I had breastfed that child, taught the child his first word, and then lost custody of him? I do believe that my fiance has custody for a good reason, but I still had to imagine what she would have gone through. And then to see that child develop a loving relationship with another mom figure… how scary.
Nothing can change our situations. They’re a reality. And the men and women who created the children in the middle separated for a reason. But each one is still a human being who has feelings and emotions and challenges. By seeing BM as a human being and receiving the same in return, I was able to develop a friendship that has gone beyond co-parenting.

25 06 2009
originalflowers

Hi Emily, you’re lucky. I’ve reached out, tried to be a friend, tried to be decent. But although it’s been 6 years since the divorce, and I met my boyfriend 5 years after the divorce, she still can’t say my name or bear to hear it said. It’s kind of difficult to make any progress. But it’s nice to hear that for some it works out. I never give up hope. 🙂

25 06 2009
Chantelle

The only thing I can do is smile and be the more mature and level-headed party in the relationship!

I didn’t invite her into my life but like it or not, I do share my life with her and each decision she makes, impacts on my life… what choice do I have but to smile sweetly? I share my weekends with her when she changes the plans at the last minute regardless of our plans with her son. I share my meals with her when her son compares my healthier cooking to hers. I share my cleaning routine with her when she rings up to complain that her son has had to dust his bedroom and he’s only 8 (good lord, do I look like a maid?). I share my life with her son, whom I love and adore and wouldn’t want to see hurting but just because his Mother refers to me as “the bitch”… it certainly doesn’t make me one!

25 06 2009
SassyZephyr

Early in my relationship with my (now) husband, his ex-wife felt threatened by my presence in his life and the lives of her children, despite the fact that she already lived with the second man she’d had an affair with. She stated that she felt as though she was being replaced. I had no idea where my relationship with my new boyfriend would lead, however, I offered to meet with her so that she would have an idea who I was especially if I was going to be around her children. We met for lunch and it was akward but I reassured her that it was impossible for her to be replaced as their mother – biologically, she would always remain #1 and I would always reinforce that relationship with them. I also told her that my intentions with the children were threefold: 1. To be kind to them. 2. To be their friend. and 3. To be a positive role mode for them. We both walked away from that lunch conversation with a handshake and felt a little bit better about things. It was a good ice breaker. Naturally, there was a little jealously afterwards on her part, however, 3 years later, she and I are friendly and share information via emails about the children who split 50% of their time in each of our homes now that their father and I are married. The boys love me to pieces and I them. She has acknowledged that it was difficult at first, especially, when they wanted to sit with me on the sidelines at their soccer games, and recently, she has aknowledged that she’s grateful that the children have me in their lives — to quote her directly– “its been a blessing.”

In general, when I’ve had to interact with her, I’ve always praised her or thanked her for her positive behavior whatever it may have been. Albeit difficult at times, I have chosen to ignore her irrational behavior that occured primarily in the beginning of my relationship with her former husband-my husband. I always kept and continue to keep the primary focus on the children and don’t delve into anything personal as it may pertain to our household. I see a natural progression in that direction as our family expands and the amazing thing is, the children see the positive interaction between households and I notice that they share/discuss more freely and frequently about issues, events, activities that take place at their other home. I think that goes both ways. Its been a pretty smooth transition and as I worry wart, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. *sigh*

I’m not naive to think that things will be perfect from here on out. This is why I am interested in this “Becoming a Stepmom” forum. I want to ensure that I utlize all of the postive and useful resources available to me so that I can be the best stepmom for the children and co-exist peacefully with their biological mother.

Thank you for this opportunity!

25 06 2009
Heather

My husband and I have been together since his bio son (my wonderful bonus son!) was less than a year old. He’ll turn 5 in less than a month. There have been a few things that have helped me throughout the past 4+ years.

Looking back, I learned it’s all about the “little things.” Like Emily said, I found that it helped to empathize with bio mom. Her position is not an easy one. I started doing little things – complimenting (sincerely) her new hair style, going to the drugstore at 10pm when the little guy was sick and taking the medicine to her house so she wouldn’t have to pack him up and go herself, making cookies for her family after her grandmother passed away… little things like that.

A couple years ago I also bought a special Christmas card and wrote a nice note letting her know how lucky I am to have her son in my life, and how lucky he is to have such a loving mom. I also acknowledged in the letter that I know she’s doing her best, and how appreciative I am. The next day I got a text saying “thanks” (hey, it was something!) That Valentine’s Day, she had the little guy make me a special homemade card… When I realized that SHE had been the one to make it, and that I was the only person to get one (not even Daddy) I started to cry.

Trust me, there are still days when I want to yell and scream about something she did or said. On those days though, I always have a choice. I can rant and rave and be in a generally bad mood – but that won’t help anyone. Or, I can choose to see how lucky I am to have a wonderful husband and bonus son… and remember that bio mom doesn’t have it easy.

Trust me, I’m not 100%, but I’m working on it. I would like to have an even better relationship with her, but I can be patient. In the end, I’ve found it really is the little things that matter the most – so I’ll keep doing those things and see where it takes us! 🙂

25 06 2009
Erica

I really try to get along with BM. We have been in each other’s lives for 4 years. We had a decent relationship in the beginning but then it was like overnight she hated me. She has told my BF she can’t even stand to hear my name let alone see my face. She doesn’t even want to talk to me. I can understand it must be very hard to have some woman come into your life and start caring for your kids. I am sure they talk about me because we have a great relationship. I just don’t know why it has to be such a bad thing for us to have a good relationship. It is like she likes to hear when they are mad at me because I made them mind or something silly like that. I just want us to be able to get along. My one stepdaughter is starting 6th grade and lots of questions about boys and she comes to me alot and it would be nice if me and BM could be on the same page with alot of this but since she won’t even talk to me it is hard to do that. I just mostly stay away from her and don’t talk to her. I just know it is harder on the kids. They want us to be friends and I try to never let them know if I am aggravated but I know she talks to SD11 about me when she is irratated and it just makes it even harder on me and SD11’s relationship. I just don’t know how to get us talking to get this straightened out and if it is even something I need to worry about. I know how she is and there is something always going on with her where she has to have a reason to be mad. I just think that it is much easier when we get along.

2 07 2009
originalflowers

Erica, I’m in the same boat. My boyfriend’s ex wife can’t stand to hear my name. She throws a fit if he ever says “we” or talks about me. It all comes down to the fact that she’s threatened by you. When my parents divorced they were friendly, and I never had a problem with either of my step parents. So it’s weird for me to be in this situation where bio mom is so hateful towards me for no other reason than she’s threatened (and delusional). Hang in there and just keep taking the high road. I look forward to the day when the kids are 18 and he never has to legally speak to her again :).

25 06 2009
ToolBoxGirl

I’m so glad you are giving four copies away! I LOVED Jennifer and Carol’s book and have made it recommended reading for every step mom I know!

1 07 2009
Chantelle

Jacque,

Thank you so much for giving the opportunity to read this book and please thank the authors on my behalf too.

My relationship with my Stepson’s mother leaves much to be desired but I’m still trying and giving up is just not an option – her son means too much to me to give up hope!

7 07 2009
Jacque

Thank you so much everyone for your comments! If you weren’t chosen to receive the book, I hope you’ll still check it out. And hats off to the authors Jennifer and Carol. If only we could all get along like you guys!

8 07 2009
originalflowers

thanks so much for the book! I read it in 2 days. I’m sooo tempted to give to bio mom. I always knew it was possible to get along and I’ve always tried, but it helped me open my eyes to how she may be feeling, as crazy as she seems most of the time. In fact, I come divorced parents who never spoke a bad word about each other, who remained friends, as did my step mom and mom. So coming into this situation I had the same outlook, only to find biomom couldn’t bear the thought of me. Oh well, again, thanks. This book really is necessary! 🙂

16 07 2009
WickedSteppie

I’ve got one of those crazy biomamas I’m afraid, and though there was a cordial relationship at first, it deteriorated the second I stood my ground with her and refused to let her shout and insult me over the phone over something that wasn’t even anything to do with me. I calmly told her I was not willing to talk to her if she was going to be abusive, and hung up. Ever since, I’ve been Satan.

She hates me, she hates my partner and resents the part that we have in SD10’s life. She is spiteful, jealous, has tried to alienate her daughter against my partner and now me, makes SD10 feel guilty because she likes me and is slowly beginning to erode the good relationship I’ve built with her over 2 years. There is no talking to this woman – she is made of hate.

I like the idea of the book though, because it gives me some hope that there are at least families out there who are much more mature and have been able to put the kids first in a way our BM couldn’t. One less child who suffers in the way my SD suffers is a positive in my eyes.

28 07 2009
Jacque

Thank you for all the comments gals. I’m going to do a podcast on this topic for sure!! It’s an ongoing challenge.

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